Archive | November, 2014

Vari-Kate-ions: November

30 Nov

I didn’t do too many projects this month, but I did tackle a few more themes via Variation 1 so I thought I’d share them with you while I still have a bit of November left. The next five on the list were flowers, night, expectations, stars, and hold my hand. So why are there only three projects below? Well, I’m “expecting” to do something for Othella in December I recently told her about, and it made sense to merge night and stars together.

DSCF7557This looked much cooler in my head. I had a plethora of stamps to send to Othella so I thought I’d modify a notecard into one with flowers, and I wasn’t able to fit as much on here without using itty bitty pieces as I would have liked. I feel a little bad about sacrificing some stationery to make this, but hakuna matata.

DSCF7592Not to sound like a broken record, but I think this could have turned out better too. For example, I would have used scrapbook paper with darker blues for the background if I had it. Oh well, A) it beats the crayon drawing I did and B) it will make Emily smile and that’s what’s most important.

DSCF7600I had several ideas when it came to “Hold My Hand” like incorporating lyrics from “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” into my response to Allison’s letter, but with Thanksgiving a few days ago, tracing my hand to make a turkey seemed like the way to go. When she holds my letter in a few days she’ll be holding my hand, haha.

And now for a bit of bad news, next month’s Vari-Kate-ion post will be the last monthly one I do of these. I feel like the new year is the perfect opportunity to start doing something new with them. I mainly plan on using them solely for Allison and Othella where when I’m writing them I will incorporate whatever theme is next on the list. There will be exceptions of course, but it just makes sense to me as they have been the two people to be the most supportive and excited about these projects within a project. The posts about ’em will come every time I have at least five to share. At least that’s the game plan.

And now I must bid you farewell. Best of luck with your own projects!
Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Thank You Notes ’14- Part 3

25 Nov

Here is the third and final installment of this mini-series where, without using names for kicks and giggles, I thank each of my current pen pals for being so awesome and sending such awesome mail. So without further ado…

~ If someone would have told me this time last year I’d send daily postcards for a month to a new friend and then meet her six months later, I would have thought it’d be awesome, though I’m not sure I would have believed it. You are as lovely in person as you are in print. Not every one could say so much on the limited space of a postcard resulting in a lasting friendship, but you, when you’re able, make it seem so effortless.

~ Out of all the pen pals I currently have, you’ve been mine the longest. In a different blog post I said that I don’t mind experimenting with my letters to you because I haven’t scared you off in 9 years, and though that’s as true as ever, it’s also easy for me to do those things because of how supportive of them you are and because I know I can trust you. Thanks for trusting me with your own things as of late, by the way!

~ You, my dear, had me at Veronica Mars. It was because of you I found out the book following the movie existed and heard that “Mr. Kiss & Tell” will be released early next year. It turns out, however, that we have much more in common since 1) you have a daughter close to Logan’s age and 2) we get all excited about new crafts only to get easily distracted. I may not use the adorable mini stamps you acquired for me very often, but I still adore them, though I adore you (and your handwriting) even more.

~ I mentioned the others who shared our March 1st birthday in my last post like this, and now it’s your turn to shine (and yes, I said that because of your cosmic last name). We have yet to exchange very many letters, but I’m sure we will get there one day. And if the boys and I ever get the lab puppy we’re wanting, you can bet my letters will include questions, stories, and maybe even pictures.

~ You, or at least one of your characters, were one of the first people to write me since my induction to The League of Extraordinary Pen Pals. At no fault of yours we hit a few bumps like when my character lost interest in continuing writing, but you were more than willing to try writing me as yourself, and we found an awesome way to still incorporate your characters with my love of asking questions. Thanks for sticking it out!

~ Like the previous person, you were among the first LEP members to write Wonder Katerz, and for that alone I’m grateful! I really enjoy seeing the art that has come my way whether it’s your contribution to a dossier, a page for my deconstructed deco book, or the envelopes you send things like the above in. You truly are a crafty maven and I think we should try more collaborations in the future 🙂

~ Last, but certainly not least, is someone who started off as a nerdy acquaintance here on wordpress who evolved into a genuine friend. I don’t know if you ever considered pen palling prior to finding this blog, but knowing that you thought highly enough of me that you wanted us to send each other mail is still very flattering. I can’t see things like dinosaurs or Hello Kitty without thinking of you and considering how well things would ship, and I also can’t help but think how I’d love to meet you and show you these things for yourself. Or we could just watch Supernatural— I’m not picky!

Well pen pals, it has been awesome exchanging letters with you regardless of how long it has been, and I hope to be thanking all of you again in the years to come. Without you, this would not be a favorite hobby of mine and I doubt I would have an outlet that does for me what anti-depressants have accomplished in the past. I may have only met a couple of you in person, but I still consider you all true friends and wish you nothing but the best. Happy pen palling, and Happy Thanksgiving, too.

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

My Fourth Not-so-Mad Tea Party

24 Nov

Not to beat any dead horses, but these posts are this Alice in Wonderland lover’s take on the “If we were having coffee” posts, just like here, here, and here.

First and foremost, Happy Thanksgiving! On Thursday afternoon the boys and I will be having turkey and the fixings over at my in-laws’, us with a cornbread dish in tow. No, we won’t be shopping afterwards or the following day. I went with my friend Krista one year and decided never again. Nothing she got, in my opinion, was worth the early hours, long lines, and rude people. This Thanksgiving, just like the last four, I’ll be thankful for all the extra time I’ll get with both my favorite guys in the comfort of our home.

I’m not sure when we’ll start decorating for Christmas. It used to be something we held off doing until the Sunday before Christmas, but now that we don’t have to worry about Gabe’s cat trying to eat it and knocking it over, we could really put it up any time in December. We still have some shopping to do yet, but the bulk of our Christmas presents have been purchased and I almost got some Frozen wrapping paper while I was grocery shopping yesterday. Before you get envious of how much I seem to have accomplished, we actually don’t buy gifts for many people. Pictures and Logan’s artwork seem to make our relatives joyful enough.

Speaking of relatives, back on the 2nd my maternal grandparents threw a party in honor of their 60th wedding anniversary, and almost all of my family was there. I loved being able to see everyone, especially my brother Erik and his wife who came up from Florida, but the crowd seemed to be too much for the Loganator. Fortunately my youngest cousins were able to get him to play, and later on he was much more social towards his aunts and uncles than when the festivities first began. Afterwards we went to my grandparents’ so Logan could spend some more time with them, Erik and Mindy, and my cousin Joey (and his mom).

Things actually haven’t been too eventful since that weekend, but I still haven’t found the time, or more accurately motivation, to do more than write letters. I have yet to do a single Vari-Kate-ion this month and the only time I even attempted to read was when Logan and I rode with his daddy as he hauled sugar beets. I blame the “catastrophe” for this melancholia for the most part, but I keep thinking any day now I will genuinely want to do these things… especially now that I ran out of Gilmore Girls to watch 😛 Oh! You know what’s  an awesome show? How to Get Away With Murder. The wait until it comes back in 2015 is going to be excruciating! I want to see the aftermath from “murder night,” dang nabbit!

I know I’ve vaguely mentioned the cat thing a couple times already, but I suppose a little update is warranted. My cat has still been really friendly towards me and Logan, but he still knows it’s best to stay away from Gabe. Gabe and I looked at grave markers the other day, but everything just seemed so gaudy– all we were really interested in was finding a decorative stone. Gabe doesn’t want to keep looking though, so I’m not going to force it.

Oh, quick story that you probably have to know me (and my brothers) as kids to appreciate, but the other day when Logan was at his grandparents’ they ordered pizza per his request. Logan would NOT touch it because it didn’t have black olives on it, something we recently started getting on our pizza here once we realized he liked them. They got some black olives, dumped them on top of it, and Logan then ate it and not just the olives on top. That’s my kid, all right 😛

Well, I should get going– I have another blog post to work on tomorrow featuring 7 more pen pals I’m incredibly thankful for. Until then!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

A Scrapbook on Steroids: A Fifth Dose

20 Nov

Hey guys, I thought I’d show you the most recent pages from my smashbook before ending this series FOREVER. Don’t worry, this likely won’t be the last time you see this book of mine, it just won’t continue to happen every other month. I want to be able to add to this when I’m feeling inspired, and not just because I have a deadline approaching. Not that I’m not happy with what was produced due to the latter 😛

Tis the season for a lot of catalogs! In two of them I found some postal-friendly things and couldn't help dog-earing the pages even though I didn't necessarily want anything. I decided that my smashbook would be a good place to showcase 'em. I also showcased some postcards from Ann, but more about those in the next pic!

Tis the season for a lot of catalogs! In two of them I found some postal-friendly things and couldn’t help dog-earing the pages even though I didn’t necessarily want anything. I decided that my smashbook would be a good place to showcase ’em. I also showcased some postcards from Ann, but more about those in the next pic!

Much like I've done with the ones from my postcard pen pal, I wanted to put my postcards from Annin the book in a way I could still see the backs as well as the fronts. I absolutely love the owl card-- I almost hated to cover it up!

Much like I’ve done with the first four from my postcard pen pal, I wanted to put my postcards from Ann in the book in a way I could still see the backs as well as the fronts. I absolutely love the owl card– I almost hated to cover it up!

Speaking of my postcard pen pal, I got too many from Friday to keep up with them all so I decided to utilize the pocket you see on the right. The left page also could use some contributions yet, but I already like it bunches.

Speaking of my postcard pen pal, I got too many from Frida to keep up with them all so I decided to utilize the pocket you see on the right. The left page also could use some contributions yet, but I already like it bunches.

My smashbook gained some weight this time around because I decided to include the zine I was featured in and a mini art journal a LEP member was nice enough to send me.

My smashbook gained some weight this time around because I decided to include the zine I was featured in and a mini art journal a LEP member was nice enough to send me.

I’m not sure when I will work on this smashbook next, though I certainly have some things that could get smashed in there yet and am constantly looking for more– another plus to getting a P.O. Box soon, I guess! I appreciate all the support and positive comments these posts have resulted in, and I will try to make sure no one, especially myself, goes through any withdrawals without these bi-monthly fixes, hehe.

All the best,
Sincerely, Kate ~!~


A Catastrophe

17 Nov

The other night I posted this in the Facebook group for my pen pals:

I can no longer say we have two cats named Snickers in my intro letters. No sympathy cards or anything of the sort are needed or even wanted, but for those of you who want to know what happened you can ask. Even though it really, really sucks.

Before I go any further, I just wanted to warn you that I’ve turned off the comments for this particular blog post. I do appreciate the thoughts and prayers that are likely happening right about now, but I’d rather not hear it. The whole reason I decided to post about the situation here is so after this, I won’t have to talk about it anymore unless I want to.

RIP, (Gabe's) Snickers.

RIP, (Gabe’s) Snickers.

Neither cat was a stranger to rough-housing. My 16-year-old cat has wrestled with any and every cat he has lived with, and for the 10+ years Gabe has had his cat he never acted as if he was older than two. Every once in a while their rumbles would get out of control to the point Gabe or I would have to break them up. Last Friday was one of those times.

Normally when I break them up, Gabe’s cat will take off like a rocket, but instead of fleeing the scene he just wobbled and fell over as if the left side of his body couldn’t support his weight. Out of curiosity I stood him up to see if there was really a problem and sure enough he fell over again. For the duration of the day he hung out under Gabe’s dresser, only getting up when he had to and when Gabe came home from work (aww). Over the weekend he still didn’t get up much, but he did venture out into the hallway and bathroom. Gabe spent Sunday night petting him and rubbing his legs to see if he could tell whether or not anything was broken and he never flinched but wagged his tail so we hoped that was a good sign.


Unfortunately things took a turn the next day. He would cry out whenever he moved, and at one point he fell and had an accident. I kept thinking if Gabe wasn’t at work we would be heading to the vet, but there was another part that thought we’d be spending a lot of money to prolong the inevitable. I’m surprised that I was able to fall asleep that night because of how much he cried, but I did. Around 1am I woke up to use the facilities and on my way back to the bedroom Gabe asked me if I’d check on the cat. You can probably imagine what I found when I did.

I was and am so incredibly thankful Logan wasn’t home. Trying to find a box we could bury him in was something no three-year-old needs to see, nor would we have wanted him to witness us actually burying the cat he called his. Logan doesn’t seem all that phased by him being gone, oddly enough; to him it’s as if he ran away and one day we’ll see him while we’re driving by.


Gabe hides it well that he’s upset, but whenever the other cat comes near him he’s not exactly warm and welcoming. I am not denying that my cat is a douche, but I can tell he has felt really guilty. Normally he’s a vocal cat, but he didn’t bug us the entire time Gabe’s cat was suffering, and he hasn’t eaten as much since that awful night. When Gabe’s not around he will come and lay beside me, and though he encourages any and all petting, it’s clear that he’s there because he’s lonely. He has also been around Logan much more since the little guy has come home from his grandparents’, and though he has tolerated Logan and his check-ups for some time now, this is the first they have seemed so buddy-buddy.


But still, things definitely are different around here. It’s weird waking up in the morning and not having him follow me into the bathroom waiting for me to fill his water bowl. It’s weird not finding him on top of the freshly folded clothes on Gabe’s dresser, or in the window when the boys and I come home from grocery shopping. I know things will get less weird over time, but for now it’s just something we’re dealing with while taking comfort in the fact that he didn’t suffer very long.

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Thank You Notes ’14- Part 2

15 Nov

As promised, here is the 2nd installment of this month’s mini-series. Missed the first one? You can find it here, but all you really need to know is that I’m telling my current batch of pen pals why I’m thankful for them without using any names for kicks and giggles.

~ I still get a kick out of your last name because of how similar it is to my maiden one, and I also get a kick out of how you mix and match stationery and make festive envelopes (wink, wink). You sometimes will say how you’re behind with your reply pile, but personally I haven’t noticed so cut yourself some slack. Good pen pals will be patient.

~ You are the newest LEP member to share my March 1st birthday, and though I have only received one letter from you so far I can’t help but feel like us birthday quadruplets are deeply connected. I wish international postage wasn’t so ridiculously expensive because I think the traveling journal idea we once spoke of would be amazing. We’ll just have to keep sending letters… and maybe birthday cards in a couple months 😉 .

~ This time last year I had a different postcard pen pal, but she stopped sending me postcards. Being in the LEP made me decide on trying another one, and you not only “signed up” right away, but sent me so many postcards I couldn’t keep up with more than 4 in my smashbook. I hope you’ve been enjoying the postcards I sent you– I will send out another one today!

~ It makes me laugh when I think about why we became pen pals– you had the Wicked Witch from Once Upon a Time as your profile picture. Out of all the shows that returned this fall that has been my favorite so the more people I have to chat with the merrier I am… even if the Snow Queen’s the villain now. Anyway, it turns out we have more than the show in common, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to try to see you in Florida next year.

~ I stumbled upon your blog here on wordpress, and knew I had to write you even if you wouldn’t be able to respond as often as either of us would like. To be honest, I did think you weren’t going to be writing anymore, but then I got your package the other day which restored every drop of confidence I lost. I’m so excited for you and the adventure that you’re on, and I’m looking forward to reading more about that whenever you’re able.

~ I couldn’t have asked for a better match via the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club. I feel like we have enough in common that we always have something to talk about, but yet we’re so different things never get dull. I appreciate you answering all my potentially prying questions, and how when I send you things like ATCs you return the favor. If I were to try another match via the IGGPPC I don’t think they’d live up to the expectations you’ve set, so I don’t think I’ll ever bother.

~ Before you joined the LEP I never wrote to someone who shared my March 1st birthday, so thanks for being my first birthday twin! And for motivating me to keep using my Marsh Mailow stamp, hehe. I love that you have a son around the same age as Logan– only a few of my pen pals have kids but none of them have boys, little or otherwise. I can see our relationship being a godsend one day, though I already appreciate it immensely.

Like I said last time, though this is only a portion of my pen pals, I am truly thankful to everyone who takes the time to make my mailbox a happy one. And to those who have stumbled onto this blog of mine and have taken the time to read about this hobby of mine. All the best!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

A Marathon Not a Sprint

10 Nov

Though it’s rare for me to finish a single letter in one sitting, I am constantly finding time to write. It is how I get my “me” time. It is how I get to hang out with friends. It is how I can express myself. It is how I like to vent. That all said, I would have spent my weekend writing letters whether the LEP had a letter writing marathon or not. What’s a letter writing marathon? It’s a designated time where participants will write as much as they’re able, sharing their progress as they go and providing encouragement along the way.

So what was I working on this weekend? My responses to two of the three letters I received towards the end of last week thanks to Justine, S’Moore, and Allison. I have yet to make a dent on my letter to Allison so I’m not going to use too many more words here, but instead implement some random visual aides.

Aide #1


These are a representation of the note cards (and coinciding envelopes) I have used to start each of my letters. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been using a combination of these and notebook paper in an attempt to use up a bunch of partially-used notebooks.

Aide #2


This is the notebook I’m currently utilizing– two have come before it. Four of its pages were used for Justine’s letter, and two for S’Moore’s. That might not have been the case had this notebook been college-ruled, but all the more reason this beat-up wide-ruled one needs to go.

Aide #3


I like my stash of stamps– Janis Joplin, Celebrity Chefs, Farmers’ Market, etc., etc. Though being well stocked seems to be a bit of a jynx (I’ve gotten less than 10 letters in the past couple weeks), it’s awesome to be able to pick out a stamp that goes with the contents of the letter. The clown one, for example, is used for the letter where I spoke of American Horror Story: Freakshow, and Batman was used since that pen pal’s son was another Superhero for Halloween.

Well, it’s about time I get back to the marathon that is Allison’s letter. Have a great week!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~


Thank You Notes ’14- Part 1

5 Nov

Normally it’s closer to Thanksgiving when I do my annual post where I tell my pen pals why I’m thankful for them, but this year I decided to turn it into a mini-series, with the 2nd and 3rd parts to follow on the 15th and 25th of this month. For the record, all of the paragraphs will be regarding pen pals I currently have exchanges with, though one-time swaps and similar things don’t count. Oh, and I also don’t use names because my intention is that I do each pen pal enough justice that they know which paragraph is about them.

~ I was not interested in any more pen pals when you joined the LEP, but when I saw that you not only attended a nearby university but were a psychology major, I couldn’t not take you on. I was soon completely hooked when I saw how quickly you responded, and though your schedule’s keeping you too busy to write right now, I’m still hooked and look forward to the day we can meet up again, cupcakes optional.

~ I’m not sure if you’ll see this as we have not been writing very long, but I really appreciate the fact that you were up for becoming unconventional pen pals where we focus more on what we make than what we write. You incorporated confetti onto your envelope and an Alice in Wonderland quote in the contents which makes you the ideal person for me to do such an experiment with. I can’t wait to get your next creations, and everything after, of course.

~ I can’t help but feel if you and I lived in the same city, you and I would hang out regularly– lunches at Chipotle, talking books and TV shows at cafes, gossiping about anyone and everyone over drinks, etc. etc. If we get along so well on paper, I can only imagine how much we’d get along in person. I know how busy you are between your husband, your job, even dog fostering, so I’m so thankful you’re able to write me as often as you do. And I still love that you make a list of what you want to tell me on the envelopes from my letters.

~ To be honest, I don’t feel like we’re as close as we used to be. I don’t blame you for that; I think if I was recently married and about to lose my job I wouldn’t be feeling all that normal either. Always know though, that you can talk to me about anything and everything. We’ve been writing for too long for me to lose interest just because you’re riding an exceptionally big roller coaster in the amusement park that is life. I wish you the best of luck with everything, and look forward to the day where you’re sending festive cards for more holidays than just Christmas again.

~ First of all, congratulations on your recent marriage! Though to me it feels like you and yours have already been married for quite some time considering how long you’ve been together. And how many babies you have, even if those babies all have four legs. It was so fun reading about your wedding plans, both on your blog and in your sporadic letters, and I’m so incredibly flattered that you invited me and Gabe– I wish we could have gone! Not going to lie, I’ve been imagining the next letter you send will be so thick that the most you’ll be able to fold it is once. Your letters may not come incredibly often, but you make sure that I’m caught up entirely on what you’ve been up to since you were able to write me last. I look forward to the day where us meeting, whenever the heck that is, can be among your bullet points.

Though this is merely the first batch of these paragraphs, I am truly thankful to everyone (besides bill collectors and the like) who takes the time to send me mail. And to those who have stumbled onto this blog of mine and have taken the time to read about this hobby of mine. All the best!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Hail the Snail #12

3 Nov

Between the sole postcard on Monday and a single letter on Tuesday, I was not expecting this Monday’s post to be a “Hail the Snail” one, but some cool stuff came during the second chunk of the week…

On Thursday I received this journal, but it’s not just any journal…


Back in March a few American LEP members, myself included, decided to pass a book around the four (now three) of us– like a group letter. There are other journals that travel among LEP members, but in most (if not all) of those cases they travel all over the globe and each member usually only gets their hands on the book once. What makes ours particularly awesome is that we each get to continually add to it and see what the others have contributed instead of never seeing what comes after our one and only entry. Plus we never have to pay ridiculous international postage. I’ll be finishing up my third entry at some point today (hopefully) and then sending it off to Kari over in California.

Come Friday I received a letter in addition to a zine made by a LEP member. What’s a zine? It’s a handmade magazine (well, the original is, the rest are copies 😛 ) that some people will sell or send to friends. I got my copy for free since I contributed to it!


Sarah, this zine’s creator, asked me to write an article about the traveling squirrels when I inquired about making a contribution, hehe. Other fun articles include Paper Witch: Mail Sigils and Songs to Write Letters to. Want to buy your own copy? Winged Snail Mail: Iss 1 is available here.

On Saturday I received two things of note. The first thing(s) were these postcards via postcrossing:


And the second was this from Penelope:


In case you don’t remember, I originally sent that to Penelope (also a LEP member), though it had fewer zentangles on it then. It is now my turn to add more to it, then I’ll send it back so she can do the same.

Now, we have some unfinished business to attend to! The first is that Erika won the best Halloween-friendly envelope from my contest last time! *Throws bat-shaped confetti* The other thing I have to tell you about is that the squirrels you saw here, also last time, have now been named. Scroll over their pictures to be introduced.


These critters will be sent off on their journeys today, so hopefully five LEPsters will be having their own good mail days sometime soon. 😀

Have a great week!
Sincerely, Kate ~!~